PHILADELPHIA (May 29, 2012) -- The 17th Liberty Classic is not only the biggest one-day women's professional cycling race in North America, it's one of the biggest in the world, attracting the top teams from all corners of the globe. This fact will be reinforced when the race gets underway this Sunday, June 3, by the presence of the current world champion and defending Liberty Classic winner Giorgia Bronzini. The Italian and her Diadora-Pasta Zara team will have a huge target, made even more obvious since Bronzini wears the coveted rainbow stripes as world champion.


By far the strongest team to take aim at that target will be Team Specialized-lululemon, the team that rose from the ashes of the highly successful Highroad team of years past. This team is led by sprinter and four-time Liberty Classic winner Ina Teutenberg. The German sprinter won a stage of the inaugural women's Exergy Tour in Idaho last week, and the team swept the top three spots of the overall podium, making them a force to be reckoned with. Amber Neben, who finished second overall, will likely be the team's rider for an early breakaway situation.


The third international team is Orica-AIS presented by GreenEdge, the women's partner team to the first ever Australian men's ProTour team. Australian time trial champion Shara Gillow finished fourth overall in the tour, and Alexis Rhodes is the current Australian road race champion and will be wearing the green and gold champion jersey. And though Aussie Jessie Maclean is racing on this international team, she spent three years racing for the local Verducci-Breakaway team from 2007-2009 and knows this race well.


One of the top domestic-based teams is TIBCO-To the Top which has sent its riders to race a healthy European schedule this spring. Joanne Kiesanowski of New Zealand was just off the top step here in 2009 and was sixth last year. She will be the on-the-road captain for the team. American Jennifer Purcell finished on the podium here last year in third and will be looking to take a step or two up this year.


A new women's team on the North American scene this year is Exergy-Twenty12, with the latter part of the name a reference to being an Olympic year. One of the team's focus points is preparing riders for selection to Team USA. Though the team suffered a set-back last week when team captain Kristin Armstrong broke her collarbone, the road race effort is still strong with Philadelphian Theresa Cliff-Ryan who finished third here in 2010. She recently won the opening stage of the Exergy Tour showing she is in good form.


Another new women's team this year is Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, showing that the women's side of the sport is growing in popularity. Former Canadian national champion Joelle Numainville finished fourth here last year. She is complemented by Carmen Small and Leah Kirchmann who both had strong results in Idaho last week.


No pre-race prediction would be complete without mentioning Pennsylvania resident and veteran U.S. racer Laura Van Gilder of the Mellow Mushroom team. Though she has shifted her focus more to the cyclo-cross discipline of cycling in the past few years she is always a major threat in any field sprint, with a top 10 finish in last year's Liberty Classic.


The Liberty Classic, with 163 of the world’s top pro women cyclists, gets underway at 10:55 a.m. on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway just 10 minutes after the pro men take off to contest the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship.  The women will race 57.6 miles, four laps of a 14.5 mile circuit.  The men, 178 pros, ride three opening laps of a 1.5 mile circuit, then make their way out Kelly Drive for seven laps on the main 14.7 mile circuit before closing the race with five, heart-pounding loops that measure 3.36 miles each.

Register Today for Bicycling Magazine Open

All of the professional racing action follows the all-new Bicycling Magazine Open beginning at 7 a.m. – a ride for anyone who’d like to experience a closed pro course.  Pro Cycling Tour, organizers of the pro races, teamed up with Bicycling Magazine and Charity of Choice to create the Bicycling Magazine Open, a Gran Fondo or “Big Ride” that allows every rider to feel like a pro as they challenge themselves to all or parts of the 14.7 mile course for up to three laps.  Through Charity of Choice, many are choosing to turn their rides into fundraisers for their favorite charities through the event’s collaboration with Charity of Choice.

Organizations such as the Shriner’s Hospital for Children, Multiple Sclerosis Society of the Greater Delaware Valley, Cradles to Crayons, Cadence Cycling Foundation, Philabundance, Ronald McDonald House, Philadelphia 9/11, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Philadelphia, Neighborhood Bike Works and Gearing Up have all signed on to mobilize their friends and supporters to ride for their causes.  So far, more than 40 organizations and individuals have opted to fundraise through the Bicycling Magazine Open and have exceeded $30,000 in monies pledged with just a few days to go.

Complete information on the Bicycling Magazine Open, including entry fees and registration directions, can be found on the official website for the 2012 TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship


To purchase VIP tickets for a front-row seat to all of the professional racing action, visit and click on VIP Tickets or click here Pro Cycling Tour - Tickets.

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Christine Reimert

Kiera Daly



Pro Cycling Tour

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